International Indian Ocean Expedition (1960-1965)

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The International Indian Ocean Expedition was first proposed at a joint meeting of the Special Committee of Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) in 1958, with the preliminary plan developed by the Committee of Oceanography of the National Academy of Sciences. The expedition involved vessels from more than twelve countries. Robert G. Snider was appointed Indian Ocean coordinator by SCOR. Goals were to study ongoing issues relating to marine biology; survey geological and geophysical characteristics; and meteorology of relating to monsoons in the region. The expedition included a large number of nations that appeared to change over the years. However, a report written by Robert Snider in 1961 indicates that Australia, East Africa, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and USSR were to provide vessels. Countries bordering the Indian Ocean were to provide shore stations and personnel for local observations, including tidal changes and meteorology. Denmark, Israel, China were to provide scientific staff. American participation was headed by the National Academy of Sciences and included research institutions across the country. According to a report by John Lyman of the National Science Foundation, American aims for the expedition were two fold. First they were to study four aspects of the Indian Ocean: “why is there an ocean basin in the first place; what are the forces that have shaped and are continuing to shape the basin; what are the resemblances between this piece of the earth’s crust and any other; and how is the basin of the Indian Ocean dissimilar from other ocean basins.” Additionally, they were to investigate “chemical and physical description of the waters of the Indian Ocean, and the study of their motions.”


  • Snider, Robert. (1961). The Indian Ocean expedition—An international venture. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union. 42 (3) 289-294.
  • Knauss, John A. (1961). The International Indian Ocean Expedition. Science. 134 (3491) 1674-1676. Retrieved from
  • Lyman, John. (1962). Report of the United States Participation in the International Indian Ocean Expedition. Retrieved from

Date Range

1960 - 1965


  • Marine Biology
  • Geology
  • Oceans
  • Geophysics
  • Meteorology
  • Marine biology
  • Oceanography


Indian Ocean


Expedition name